Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. What is Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? It's known as Lou Gehrig's disease and ALS. If you don't know it's a disease that 2 out of 100,000 people get. It eats away at your muscles and so far there is no cure. The only way for it to stop is when you die. The life expectancy after being diagnosed is 2-5 years. Few live longer then five. Ten% live for ten years after. 5% live for around 20 years after. This is why so many people are doing the ice bucket challenge. It brings awareness to this rare illness.
As of august 22, 2014 the ALS association has received 53.3 million in donations compared to the 2.2 million it made in the same time period (July 29- august 21).
Some people wonder if it's contagious-meaning- that if someone in your family has/had ALS will you be diagnosed with it as well. The answer is no. Although 1 out of 10 people will be diagnosed with FALS(familia amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) which is when someone in your family who has/had ALS and you or other family members have been diagnosed with it as well. Please don't worry about this though. As I said before it's 1 out of 10 and very unlikely.
Some people know the name ALS but they don't know what it does to you. As stated before it eats away at your muscles. To go Into deeper information, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no or negative. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment–"No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region.
As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look "thinner" as muscle tissue atrophies.
The heart and the digestive system are also made of muscle but a different kind, and their movements are not under voluntary control. When your heart beats or a meal is digested, it all happens automatically. Therefore, the heart and digestive system are not involved in ALS. Breathing also may seem to be involuntary. Remember, though, while you cannot stop your heart, you can hold your breath - so be aware that ALS may eventually have an impact on breathing.
The cause of ALS is still unknown. In these past years there has been a wealth in scientific understanding. There is no cure at the moment, however there is one drug, riluzole, that some what slows it down and will eventually give you around two more months.
Importantly, there are significant devices and therapies that can manage the symptoms of ALS that help people maintain as much independence as possible and prolong survival. It is important to remember that ALS is a quite variable disease; no two people will have the same journey or experiences. There are medically documented cases of people in whom ALS ‘burns out,’ stops progressing or progresses at a very slow rate. No matter what your individual course or situation may be.
Some people don't know how serious this is. And others do. I've seen videos on YouTube of the ice bucket challenge. One particularly caught my attention. This guy started his video doing the challenge. Then around the two minuet mark he talks about ALS. Turned out it runs in his family. His grandmother-who was like a second mom- and his mother had been diagnosed. Five months before he made the video he was diagnosed with it.
He talks about how if you bring ALS up in a conversation the person might not know what it is or what it does. Then there are the people that do and it makes only a small conversation because they know how serious and scary it could be.
"And let me tell you- it's so, so f***ing scary..." He states. Then later he mentions (not exact words sorry) "just seeing all these ice bucket challenges makes me happy, makes everyone suffering from ALS happy..." (Again I'm sorry not exact words but it's pretty much the Same thing)
After watching this video I was curious to see what some things said in the comments. One particularly caught my eye. It says "WHO GIVES A DAMN! IM SICK OF THIS GARBAGE CLUTTERING MY FACEBOOK!"
Who gives a damn? How about the people who have a heart. The people who have lost loved ones. The people who have been diagnosed with ALS. That's who gives a damn.
And that's not one of the worst I've seen. The guy was called a wuss and some other hateful words because he started crying when he talked about this. I would cry as well.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this. If you have any question please go ahead and ask in the comments. I will answer them in the next chapter along with others. Please if you can share about how important this is with your friends. It would mean the world to me and many others.
If you would like to donate go to the official ALS page www.alsa.org
Thank you again for reading this. And if you do donate thank you. It can mean the world to so many people.